Here, Kaylene Swanson, 54, tells the story in her own words.
￼Running in the backyard I loved the way the sun felt on my bare bottom.
‘Kaylene pull up your undies,’ my mum, Pam, would yell from the house. Pulling up my briefs, I headed inside sniggering. As I passed our family photo hanging proudly on the wall, I smiled. The sight of me flashing my rear, tucked in between my siblings, said more about me than I ever could. Nicknamed the family naturist, everyone who knew me understood that the textile world wasn’t for me. As my dad Vick hammered in the last panel of wood for our brand-new deck, I rubbed my hands together. ‘I can’t wait to sunbake on here,’ I said. ‘Can you keep your clothes on this time,’ he laughed.
As a teenager, I was constantly reprimanded for taking off my clothes, but that never stopped me. Slinging my bag over my shoulder, I made my way to the beach to sunbathe there. Scouting out my perfect spot, I always found a secluded patch to sunbake. No-one likes a tan line, I thought, dropping my shorts. As the warmth of the sun hit my bare body, I felt just like my five-year-old self running in the yard with my tushie uncovered. This is where I am most comfortable, I exhaled. Sometimes I’d grab my best girlfriends and we’d head to a club for a night out. As we danced around, I lost count of the number of times someone pinched my bum or said something inappropriate to me. This would never happen on the beach, I thought.
Tired of being grabbed and catcalled while out and about, I retreated to my favourite place. So, for the next 40 years, I hid out at nudist beaches on weekends and during the week I lived back in the material world. I’m living a double life, I thought. Like it was second nature, I slipped off my clothes as soon as the sand hit the soles of my feet. Baring all, I couldn’t help but wonder why it was that everyone at the beach was very respectful, yet, as soon as I put on my shirt, it was almost like an open invitation for unwanted attention. ‘You would think it’d be the other way around,’ I opened up to a close friend. Explaining that she had joined a private country club, she invited me to join. ‘There are just two rules,’ she said. ‘Clothes are not optional and you must respect everyone.’
In a secret location on the outskirts of Sydney, I was granted a pass to visit for the day. Opening the locked gate, I drove through into the well-hidden Kiata Country Club naturist resort. Stepping out and pulling my shirt over my head, I instantly felt at home. In 2012, I made it official and became a member. Everyone welcomed me into the community and I instantly knew this was my forever home. Getting along like two old souls, Terry, a member at Kiata, always knew how to make me laugh. As the resident karaoke man, once a month he put on a sing-a-long night at the resort. ‘Shall we dance,’ asked Terry with a wink. Grabbing his arm, I headed with him to the dance floor, which was lit up by fairy lights. Terry twirled me around, with the pair of us in fits of laughter. Afterwards, we headed for a deserted spa overlooking the bush. Tilting our heads back, we gazed into the night sky and talked and talked. Amazingly, a shooting star trailed through the dark. ‘That must be a sign,’ Terry said to me.
From that day on, Terry, now 65, and I have been happily together. He is the only person I feel like I can truly be myself with, whether I’m in the nude or clothed. For Kiata’s themed monthly functions, Terry and I coordinate our ‘outfits’. I handmade sequinned sashes for the Carnivale event and when Christmas came around, Mr and Mrs Claus accessories were a must. Talking about marriage, Terry and I often discussed if it was the next move for us. ‘Is this something you want to do?’ Terry asked. ‘Yes, I think I would like that,’ I said. And just like that, we were engaged.
Planning our perfect day –the date is set for 02/02/2020 – we intend to exchange vows twice, once with clothes and once without. Terry and I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together. But I don’t think I’ll wear white, nude looks much better on me!
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